Martin and Barbara Mayden honor Esther Sperling Mayden, who was born in 1921 and
grew up in a well-to-do family in Lubaczow, a small town in southern Poland, in Galitzia.
During World War I, the town was under Austrian occupation; about 18,000 people lived
there, 2,500 of them were Jews. The community had Zionist organizations, a school
for girls (Bet Jacob), a Zabotinsky organization, and a Hertzel organization. During
the war, Mayden survived the Holocaust despite being imprisoned, interrogated, and
harassed; her incredible story has been written down in detail by her daughter-in-law
During an interrogation by the Germans, she remembers seeing other victims shortly
before they were to be killed. She writes, “They (German soldiers) took me through
that hall, and I saw death, I mean I saw it. I imagined how death would look. Because
I knew that these people were going to die. Once their faces were turned to the wall,
I knew that they (the German soldiers) were going to come in and kill them all.”
Mayden survived this encounter and other dangerous situations by hiding her identity
as a Jew. At the end of the war, she met her future husband, Jack. Their wedding
was attended by fifty people, all survivors of the Holocaust. They eventually settled
in the United States.